2014/08/27

Linguist lawyers

Transblawg picks up again on an Economist thing suggesting translation as an outlet for under-billing associates, and quotes one of the comments:

I am also a US qualified lawyer working in document review in Spanish and Portuguese. I have been steadily employeed in these temporary projects for quite some time, but inoalls is correct, these projects do not lead to permanent employment. I also agree that these law firms that hire people like us do not realize the full benefit of having someone who is not only fluent in the language, but able to act as a liasion between them and their foreign clients. I recently worked on a review in which the documents captured were clearly not what the firm had been looking for. I asked to see a list of the search terms and it was no wonder they got the result they did, they simply translated English legal terms into Portuguese, not taking into account the variations in the legal systems. I mentioned this to the supervising attornesy and gave them a list of more specialized terms to search for. This is an example of how firms are not making an investment in associates who bring languages to the table.

Though eloquence is prized in the profession, I sometimes get that old Moses & Aaron ache - if you're not stone-tablet-lugger-in-chief then you're a fucking loser - which wounds Moses if he slums it as Aaron, and which is punishable by antiphonal thunderbolt for any Aaron who presumes to a bit of mountaineering.

Exceptions are to be found on the wild side - new technologies and other Wild Wests - and this foolish babbler has had some amusing moments trying to unravel for demigods what happened in a particularly confused bit of Francophone industrial Africa.

But as night falls my hovel and hogs await on the plain.

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